White House Protest Corps


Gaza Flotilla: If Chavez had been the killer instead of Netanyahu

http://alainet.org/active/38803 by Roberto Montoya

translated by arrest-bush@usa.net

If Chavez had been the killer instead of Netanyahu

What you’ d expect to see from the mainstream media

The USA Fourth Fleet, with its aircraft carrier and three nuclear submarines, its two dozen cruisers and fourteen patrol torpedo boats, its 120 F22 and F117 fighters, six Apache AH-64 helicopters, sixty tanks and 20,000 marines, backed by B2 bombers and AWACS planes, is being deployed toward the Venezuelan coast to enforce a total blockade of Venezuelan ports.

“The Pentagon has established a ‘no-fly zone’ over Venezuela and installed Patriot anti-ballistic missiles in Columbia and Honduras. The goal is to prevent the dictator Chavez from using his nuclear arsenal against the USA or its neighbors. The Pentagon has mobilized reinforcements for its seven permanent bases in Columbia on the Venezuelan border”, The American secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and the secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, at a press conference pointed out. “We have no intention to comply with the tepid response from the UN Security Council against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”

“The elite forces of the National Bolivarian Armada from the Agustín Armario Naval Base, made up of several GC-21 coastal patrol boats, a few PC-33 corvettes, and some PC-24 patrol craft ATTACKED IN INTERNATIONL WATERS of the Caribbean Sea a FREEDOM FLOTILLA of six boats carrying 750 peaceful anti-Chavez activists and NGO members from several countries. The comandos boarded the ship and opened fire on the passengers, leaving between nine and nineteen dead and dozens injured” reported Gates.

“The Venezuelan dictator”, added Hillary Clinton, “in his usual acts of distraction and propaganda, has accused the murdered civilians of carrying arms on board the ship and of being connected to the CIA, Mossad, and Columbian Intelligence Services.”

President Obama, flanked by his Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, said that American intelligence has long known that Chávez wanted to provoke an international diplomatic crisis disguised as legitimate self-defense. “The dictator was planning to invade Columbia with the help of the FARC. He would then proceed to overthrow one by one the governments of Latin America that did not bend to the will of ALBA and the Latin American Axis of Evil. Chávez’s twisted dream is to build a Great Bolivarian Nation, which in reality would be nothing but a huge regional dictatorship.” Blair remarked.

After a moment of silence, Obama’s face grew very serious. He then made a revelation that astonished all present. “We have decided to invade Venezuela and extradite Chávez to Guantánamo where he will be judged by a military tribunal. We have conclusive evidence that the dictator has been sheltering Osama bin Laden in the jungle south of the Orinoco River. Furthermore, we have intelligence that Chávez has smuggled enriched uranium from Ahmedinijad and installed missiles targeting America.”

“And if this were not enough to justify our Crusade, it is my responsibility to inform the world of a vital discovery, a discovery which dispels one of the great mysteries of our time. Our intelligence services have located the weapons of mass destruction for which my indefatigable predecessor scoured Iraqi territory in vain. Now we have absolute proof that the weapons of mass destruction were smuggled into Venezuela by Saddam Hussein himself before he was apprehended. They now under the direct command of the Chávez family.”

No sooner had the press conference wrapped up when the White House telephones started ringing off the hook. The leaders of the European Union, of the United Nations, of Israel, and of many other nations were climbing all over one another to assure the president of their support and to jump aboard his worthy Crusade.

At the insistence of European leaders and prestigious ‘think tanks’, President Obama called for an international summit to study the inclusion of Cuba in The Great Crusade, dubbed Latin American Free Operation. The Castro brothers would be captured and detained at Guantánamo. Business leaders, led by Gerardo Díaz Ferrán of Spain, suggested the time was ripe to complete the democratic makeover of Latin American by the overthrow of totalitarian regimes. The continent would be freed of coke fiends Evo Morales and Rafael Correa, of guerrilla leaders Daniel Ortega and Pepe Múgica, of the pinko priest Fernando Lugo, of the rabble-rowser Cristina Kirchner. The continent would be freed of everyone and anyone who dares challenge the interests of the multinationals, the multinationals that have only the best interests of The People in mind.

Thus did Díaz Ferrán retrace the steps of German president Horst Köhler, who in May was forced to resign. Köhler had declared that the valiant mission of Germany in Afghanistan was the following: “We know that for a country of our size, its economy dependent on international commerce, military intervention is necessary to defend our interests. Trade routes must be kept open and regions must be kept stable and safe, because otherwise our commercial interests would be negatively impacted.”

Obama, his European Allies, the UN, the IMF, the International Development Bank, the World Bank, the most important multinationals and lobbies, have reached a consensus. It can be assumed that resources freed by Latin American Free Operation will solve the the global financial crisis in the short or medium term.

http://alainet.org/active/38803 by Roberto Montoya



The Eco-Socialist Alternative: Capitalist Destruction or New Civilization?
May 29, 2010, 2:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

http://venezuelanalysis.com/print/5394

May 28th 2010 , by Gustavo Fernández Colón – Another Green World

The most serious aspect of the crisis facing the global capitalist system is not the bankruptcy of financial corporations, or the global economic downturn, or the discrediting of its institutions of political control. The greatest threat to the continuity of the capitalist mode of production is the environmental crisis caused by the irrational destruction of nature, to the point of jeopardizing the ability of self-regeneration of the ecosystems on which our survival depends.

For many analysts, however, a new long cycle of economic growth would be able to take off thanks to the efforts of countries like China and India, now converted into more desirable markets for transnational capital because of their abundant and “unregulated” cheap labor.

What analysts often do not reveal is that the high rate of GDP growth in China is misleading if one takes into account that the figures do not include the serious environmental and social liabilities generated by the “market socialism” adopted by this nation since 1979. Indeed, since the late nineties, “the World Bank estimated that pollution cost the country the equivalent of 8% of its annual production. That is, the enviable growth in China (…) is almost offset by hidden environmental [and social] costs, such as reduced life expectancy and declining arable land.”[1]

The economies of China and India will be forced to include in their accounting, sooner or later, the huge economic losses caused by global warming and climate disasters, depletion and water pollution, deforestation and desertification of soils, chemical pollution of food, declining wild fish stocks, the mass extinction of plant and animal species, depletion and scarcity of renewable energies, overpopulation and pollution in cities, migration and pandemics. Each and every one of these environmental liabilities must be paid, on time, for all humanity.

The invoices generated by climate change, for example, have already begun to alarm some sectors of financial capitalism, such as insurance companies. In 2000 a group of researchers led by Andrew Dlugolecki, belonging to CGMU Insurance Group (the largest insurance group in Britain), published a report according to which the property damage caused by global climate change showed a growth rate of 10% annually. If this trend continues, by the year 2065 the upward curve of losses will surpass Gross World Product growth, estimated at 3% annually. This means that the magnitude of the damage caused by the greenhouse effect that year will be identical to the volume of all the wealth produced on the planet. According Dlugolecki, long before the two lines intersect, the global economy will become bankrupt.[2]

Given this evidence, there is increasing uncertainty as to the possibility that capitalism (powered by China, the U.S., or both) will reach a new cycle of expansion similar to what occurred between 1945 and 1970. Similarly, it is absurd to think that it is feasible to transform the prevailing social relations of production and build a new society that is truly equitable, participatory, and sustainable, using the same energy patterns, technology and products developed over the past three centuries by the system of domination it aims to transform.

This apparent impasse does not mean that we are doomed to barbarism or that we reject outright the entire scientific and technological legacy of modernity. What corresponds to this dilemma is to be cautious against the risk of shipwreck, which would be any alternative socio-political project, to be led by the compulsive desire for reproduction of productive forces deployed by capitalism, without a critical assessment of its ecological, social, political and cultural effects. Do not forget that the stranglehold on political democracy and workers’ management caused by giving priority to technology and arms competition with the West was one of the fundamental causes of the collapse or involution of the most important trials of the Twentieth Century socialists.

Good Living

Against this background, it is important to examine the responses to the problem of the ecological unsustainability of “progress,” generated by left-wing political movements that have recently won power in Latin America. Beyond the philosophical, programmatic and contextual differences, a first common feature of the new popular governments has been the emphasis on the role of the state to curb social imbalances aggravated by free-market policies implemented in the nineties. In practice, this has meant a greater concern for social justice, the strengthening of government services, health, and education, emphasis on economic sovereignty, and greater cooperation and integration among the countries of the region to try to escape their historical subordination to the United States.

While recognizing the merits of this effort, we note with concern that the problem of the unsustainability of our economies is still not a priority for most governments in the new Latin American left. Categories such as “development,” “progress” and “economic growth” continue to guide the public policy objectives, which continues to be understandable given the urgency to grow our economies to distribute wealth more equitably and address problems of poverty that afflicts the vast majority of our population.

But despite the dominance of the development ideology, it is fair to say that there have been some significant achievements in the fight to get rid of the legitimating myths of capitalist modernity and lay the foundations for a truly alternative political paradigm. An example is the principle of Good Living, which underlies the constitutions of Bolivia and Ecuador. Good Living or Sumak Kawsay, in Quechua, is a concept from the worldview of the native peoples of the Andes and the Amazon, which refers to community life in harmony with nature and culture or wisdom of the ancestors. It has nothing to do with modern anxiety for “better,” nor with the ideology of unlimited growth and progress. It responds to a world view totally different from the capitalist ethic which encourages us to compete with others to produce and consume more, regardless of why our fellows have to “live evil.” As Leonardo Boff says:

“On the contrary, Good Living Ethics points toward having enough for the whole community, not just for the individual. Good Living is a holistic and integrated human being, immersed in the great earth, which also includes humans, air, water, soils, mountains, trees and animals (…) in deep communion with Mother Earth.” [3]

The Good Life is one of the most original conceptions inspiring revolutionary processes taking place in Latin America. Based on this philosophy, it is possible to characterize the fundamental force lines of the transition that will allow us to save civilization from the devastation of capitalism and contribute to the flourishing eco-socialist societies of the XXI Century.

Five Dimensions of the Transition

The first dimension of this complex transition would be the end of the cycle of non-renewable and polluting energy sources (coal, oil, gas, nuclear energy) and the beginning of the era of clean and renewable energies (wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, tidal, etc.). This includes the replacement of industrial agriculture based on monoculture, the use of pesticides, and genetically modified seeds with a new agricultural model geared toward caring for biodiversity, organic farming methods, the rescue of the knowledge and techniques of traditional farmers, and indigenous and local self-sufficiency. Also, we have to proceed to replace the individual car with non-polluting public transport to facilitate reducing the size of cities, as well as fostering a culture of recycling and frugal consumption, minimizing the weight of our “ecological footprint” on Mother Earth.

The second transition would be marked by the transition from private ownership and hierarchical and authoritarian means of production, to different forms of collective ownership and participatory management of production, distribution and services. This economic dimension of the ongoing transformation has its roots in centuries of popular struggle to end poverty and exclusion caused by the “invisible hand” of the market.

The third would be the transition from representation to participation as the guiding criterion of the political organization of society. The crisis of parties and democracy delegations noted the need to build a new institutional framework to respond to the aspirations of peoples’ permanent participation in making decisions on matters of collective interest. In this context, participatory democracy and direct democracy are the trends that emerged as alternatives to the old political order in agony on the horizon of the twenty-first century.

The fourth transition is reflected in contemporary struggles against cultural homogenization imposed by blood and fire since the fifteenth century European colonization of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania. This homogenization was implemented, from the Twentieth Century on, through seductive advertising strategies developed by the mass media. Faced with this attempted annihilation of popular identities, different expressions of cultural resistance arise to combat the defects of discrimination, racism and xenophobia and promote intercultural dialogue within a framework of mutual respect for differences.

Finally, the fifth transition has to do with the end of the historical cycle of dominance of patriarchal societies and the establishment of new relations of gender equity, as evidenced by the growing role of women in the exercise of roles previously reserved for men and vindicating the civil rights of sexual identities.

In short, these five trends and others which teem in the senile womb of capitalism form the context in which ecosocialism erupts as political expression of an ethic, which is both global and local, focusing on shared responsibility to preserve the continuity of life on Earth by the selection of technological and friendly energy patterns for the health of human beings and nature. An ethics to safeguard the inalienable right of peoples to travel its own path toward the common good, in accordance with the ancient knowledge and indigenous cultural identities. An ethic that makes possible the construction of a new, fair international economic order and solidarity, where poverty, exclusion and the fratricidal war become, sooner rather than later, the remains of a historic step for mankind overcome.

Notes

[1] Johnson, Ian (1998, January 2). The cities ‘bumper’ hamper migration in China. Wall Street Journal.

[2] Climate change will bankrupt the world (2000, November 1924). The Independent. Available: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20001124/ai_n14354408?tag=untagged [1]

[3] Boff, Leonardo (2009, April 3). To live better or ‘Good Living’? Fusion Magazine. Available: http://www.revistafusion.com/20090403817/Firmas/Leonardo-Boff/ivivir-mejor-o-el-buen-vivir.htm [2]

This paper was presented to the forum, “XXI Century Eco-Socialism,” in Caracas, Venezuela, in June 2009. Gustavo Fernández Colón is a professor at the University of Carabobo, Venezuela. He can be reached at fernandezcolon@gmail.com.

Another Green World


Hands Off Venezuela! London discusses Venezuelan revolution.
London discusses Venezuelan revolution! Print E-mail
Written by Hands Off Venezuela
Monday, 24 May 2010 15:14
Some 50 activists participated in a very intense day of discussions during the Conference of Hands off Venezuela in London, on May 22. The main guests of the Conference were Katy Jaimes and Elías Chacón, active in the Socialist United Party (PSUV) and the PSUV youth as well as the movement of occupied factories, who had travelled from Venezuela to report on the current situation of the Bolivarian revolution.

Katy Jaimes, a delegate to both the founding congress and the recently finished extraordinary congress of the PSUV, explained how the party’s aim was to be a tool “for the workers and by the workers” in order to fight for socialism. She explained how the party had initially got more than 7 million registered members (in a country of 27 million inhabitants) and how more than 2.5 million of those were participating actively and had voted in the election of the delegates to the party’s congress.Katy Jaimes

She explained the achievements of the revolution in the fields of education, health care, the launching of the Simon Bolivar communications satellite and others, but stressed that the main conquest of the revolution was that “now we have a people which has awoken, has said enough is enough and taken its future into its own hands”. The opposition and the mass media internationally constantly attack Chavez for his role in the Bolivarian revolution, but Katy Jaimes made it clear that the revolutionary movement in Venezuela goes beyond the president and that as a matter of fact it started “in 1989 with a peoples’ uprising against the austerity package of Carlos Andres Perez”, the Caracazo. Following on from this, she reminded the audience of the austerity measures being planned by the new Conservative-Liberal government in Britain and asked them “what are you going to do about it? When are you going to start the British revolution!?”.

Elías Chacón went on to explain the situation of the workers movement, including the mood of enthusiasm of the recent congress of the National Workers’ Union (UNT) which met in December 2009 and April 2010. Elías has been involved in the movement of the occupied factories, which he explained, shows in practice that the “workers can run the factories without bosses, and even improve the quality standards of production”, giving examples from INVEVAL (valve-making factory in Miranda), INAF (plumbing parts) and others.

Chacón also explained how these factories were also facing the sabotage of the bureaucracy. In the case of INAF, for instance, president Chavez had decreed its nationalisation in a public broadcast last November, but this had not yet been implemented. He linked this to the call by president Chavez to do away with the bourgeois state which still exists in Venezuela. Finally, he also stressed that the struggle for socialism has to be international and how in this the role of the solidarity movement is crucial.

We were also pleased to have Venezuelan Ambassador Samuel Moncada speaking in this session, with a presentation dealing with the outrageous campaign of media manipulation against Chavez and the Venezuelan revolution. This included not only the open and blatant lies of Fox News and others, but also the more subtle disinformation of “respectable” outlets like BBC News, he explained.

Ambassador Samuel  MoncadaMoncada explained how the United States has a long history of intervention in Latin America and how it is still today, a threat to the Bolivarian Revolution. He went into detail about the US military presence in the region, not only in Colombia, but also in the Dutch islands of Aruba and Curaçao, just off the coast of Venezuela.

A lively question and answer session, showed the interest of the audience in the most recent developments of the revolution, including the question of the ownership of the means of production, the Bolivarian militia, etc.  The morning session finished with a unanimous vote in favour of resolutions about the achievements of the Bolivarian revolution, against the threat of US intervention and in solidarity with the struggle of the occupied factories and demanding their nationalisation.

In the afternoon Conference reopened with a report from Roberto Navarrete, producer of “Inside the Revolution”, who explained the enormous interest there is in India for the Venezuelan Revolution and the call for a V International. The conference continued with a discussion with Alan Woods, editor of www.marxist.com, about Chávez’s call for the formation of a V International. He explained the importance of such a call, “the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union that the question of socialism has been put firmly on the table” and argued in favour of such an international, based, as Chavez had explained on the “struggle against capitalism, imperialism and for socialism”. Alan said that in his opinion, these were broad enough points on the basis of which revolutionaries could and should unite their efforts.  He also added that there were forces, “bureaucrats and reformists”, which wanted to prevent it “from coming into being”.

There was a lively discussion on this question, dealing with the question of whether it was possible to separate the struggle against capitalism from the struggle against imperialism, about the question of diplomatic and trade alliances of Venezuela with countries like Iran (“which is not a revolutionary regime, on the contrary, a counter-revolutionary one”, Alan explained), how would this new International look like, whether there was not a danger of it being taken over by bureaucrats from different countries rather than being a genuine revolutionary body, amongst others.

Finally a resolution welcoming Chavez’s call for the V International and instructing the HOV committee to start discussions on this question within the campaign and in the wider labour movement was passed unanimously.

Amancay Colque from the Bolivia Solidarity Campaign reported back from the Peoples’ Earth Summit in Cochabamba. She explained how Bolivian president Evo Morales had made it clear that “if capitalism lives Mother Earth dies”, linking clearly the struggle for the environment with the struggle against capitalism.

Andy Higginbottom from the Colombia Solidarity Campaign reported back from the Enlazando Alternativas counter-summit to the EU – Latin America heads of state summit in Spain which he had attended the previous weekend.  Andy stressed the role that European and particularly British multinationals play in the expoliation of third world countries, the destruction of the environment, attacks on trade union rights, etc. As a case example of this he highlighted the struggle of oil workers and the communities in Casanare, Colombia (http://www.colombiasolidarity.org.uk/campaigns/19-bp/490-bp-in-casanare-workers-back-mobilisation-continues).

The discussion included many issues, including solidarity with the Resistance movement against the coup in Honduras which took place a year ago. Katrina Annis and José Sagaz explained the work of the Coordinadora Latinoamericana, the coalition of solidarity campaigns and Latin American workers’ groups, which HOV is a part of.

Again, resolutions were voted on solidarity with Honduras, congratulating John McDonnell’s role in supporting Venezuela and supporting his bid for Labour Party leader, reaffirming the campaign’s work with the Coordinadora, and finally a new Steering Committee of the campaign was elected.

It was a very packed day, full of information and discussion and we would like to thank all those who participated and particularly all those who worked hard to make it happen.



America and Venezuela: Constitutional Worlds Apart
May 16, 2010, 5:21 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,
America and Venezuela: Constitutional Worlds Apart
By Stephen Lendman
Global Research, August 22, 2007
Although imperfect, no country anywhere is closer to a model democracy than Venezuela under President Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias. In contrast, none is a more shameless failure than America, but it was true long before the age of George W. Bush. The difference under his regime is that the mask is off revealing a repressive state masquerading as a democratic republic. This article compares the constitutional laws of each country and how they’re implemented. The result shows world’s apart differences between these two nominally democratic states – one that’s real, impressive and improving and the other that’s mostly pretense and under George Bush lawless, corrupted, in tatters, and morally depraved.

US Constitutional Law from the Beginning

Before they’re old enough to understand its meaning, young US children are taught to “pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands,” and, by inference, its bedrock supreme constitutional law of the land. At that early age, they likely haven’t yet heard of it, but soon will with plenty of misinformation about a document far less glorious than it’s made out to be.

This article draws on Ferdinand Lundberg’s powerfully important 1980 book, “Cracks in the Constitution,” that’s every bit as relevant today as then. In it, he deconstructs the nation’s foundational legal document, separating myth from reality about what he called “the great totempole of American society.” He analyzed it, piece by piece, revealing its intentionally crafted flaws. It’s not at all the “Rock of Ages” it’s cracked up to be, but students at all levels don’t learn that in classrooms from teachers going along with the deception or who simply don’t know the truth about their subject matter.

The Constitution falls far short of a “masterpiece of political architecture,” but it’s even worse than that. It was the product of very ordinary scheming politicians (not the Mt. Rushmore types they’re portrayed as in history books) and their friends crafting the law of the land to serve themselves while leaving out the greater public that was nowhere in sight in 1787 Philadelphia. Unlike the Venezuelan Constitution, discussed below, “The People” were never consulted or even considered, and nothing in the end was put to a vote beyond the state legislative bodies that had to ratify it. In contrast to popular myth, the framers crafted a Constitution that didn’t constrain or fetter the federal government nor did they create a government of limited powers.

They devised a government of men, not laws, that was composed of self-serving devious officials who lied, connived, used or abused the law at their whim, and pretty much operated ad libitum to discharge their duties as they wished. In that respect, things weren’t much different then from now except the times were simpler, the nation smaller, and the ambitions of those in charge much less far-reaching than today.

The Constitution can easily be read in 30 minutes or less and just as easily be misunderstood. The opening Preamble contains its sole myth referring to “We the people of the United States of America.” The only people who mattered were white male property owners. All others nowhere entered the picture, then or mostly since, proving democracy operatively is little more than a fantasy. But try explaining that to people today thinking otherwise because that’s all they were taught from the beginning to believe.

They were never told the American revolution was nothing more than a minority of the colonists seceding from the British empire planning essentially the same type government repackaged under new management. Using high-minded language in Article I, Section 8 of the supreme law of the land, the founders and their successors ignored the minimum objective all governments are, or should be, entrusted to do – “provide for….(the) general welfare” of their people under a system of constitutional law serving everyone. But that’s not its only flaw build in by design.

Our revered document is called “The Living Constitution,” and Article VI, Section 2 defines it as the supreme law of the land. In fact, it’s loosely structured for governments to do as they wish or not wish with the notion of a “government of the people, by the people, for the people” a nonstarter. “The People” don’t govern either directly or through representatives, in spite of commonly held myths. “The People” are governed, like it or not, the way sitting governments choose to do it. As a consequence, “The Living Constitution” was a “huge flop” and still is.

Setting the Record Straight on the Framers

Popular myth aside, the 55 delegates who met in Philadelphia from May to September, 1787 were very ordinary self-serving, privileged, property-owning white men. They weren’t extraordinarily learned, profound in their thinking or in any way special. Only 25 attended college (that was pretty rudimentary at the time), and Washington never got beyond the fifth grade.

Lundberg described them as a devious bunch of wheeler-dealers likely meeting in smoke-filled rooms (literally or figuratively) cutting deals the way things work today. He called them no “all-star political team” (except for George Washington) compared to more distinguished figures who weren’t there like Jefferson, Adams (the most noted constitutional theorist of his day), John Jay (the first Supreme Court Chief Justice), Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry and others. Madison and Alexander Hamilton, who did attend, were virtual unknowns at the time, yet ever since Madison has been mischaracterized as the Constitution’s father. In fact, he only played a modest role.

The delegates came to Philadelphia in May, 1887, assembled, did their work, sent it to the states, and left in a despondent mood. They disliked the final product, some could barely tolerate it, yet 39 of the 55 attendees knowingly signed a document they believed flawed while we today extoll it like it came down from Mt. Sinai. The whole process we call a first-class historical event was, in fact, an entirely routine uninspiring political caucus producing no “prodigies of statecraft, no wonders of political (judgment), no vaulting philosophies, no Promethean vistas.” Contradicting everything we’ve been “indoctrinated from ears to toes” to believe, the notion that the Constitution is “a document of salvation….a magic talisman,” or a gift to the common man is pure fantasy.

The central achievement of the convention, and a big one (until the Civil War changed things), was the cobbling together of disparate and squabbling states into a union. It held together, tenuously at best, for over seven decades but not actually until Appomattox “at bayonet point.” The convention succeeded in gaining formal approval for what the leading power figures wanted and then got it rammed through the state ratification process to become the law of the land.

After much wheeling and dealing, they achieved mightily but not without considerable effort. Enough states balked to thwart the whole process and had to be won over with concessions like legitimizing slavery for southern interests and more. Then consider the Bill of Rights, why they were added, for whom, and why adopting them made the difference. It came down to no Bill of Rights, no Constitution, but they weren’t for “The People” who were out of sight and mind.

These “glorified” first 10 Amendments were first rejected twice, then only added to assure enough state delegates voted to ratify the final document with them included. Many in smaller states were displeased enough to want a second convention that might have derailed the whole process had it happened. To prevent it, concessions were made including adding the Bill of Rights because they addressed key state delegate concerns like the following:

— prohibitions against quartering troops in their property,

— unreasonable searches and seizures there as well,

— the right to have state militias,

— the right of people to bear arms, but not as the 2nd Amendment today is interpreted,

— the rights of free speech, the press, religion, assembly and petition, all to serve monied and propertied interests alone – not “The People,”

— due process of law with speedy public trials for the privileged, and

— various other provisions worked out through compromise to become our acclaimed Bill of Rights. Two additional amendments were proposed but rejected by the majority. They would have banned monopolies and standing armies, matters of great future import that might have made a huge difference thereafter. We’ll never know for sure.

In the end and in spite of its defects, the framers felt it was the best they could do at the time and kept their fingers crossed it would work to their advantage. None of them suggested or wanted “a sheltered haven….for the innumerable heavily laden, bedraggled, scrofulous and oppressed of the earth.” On the contrary, they intended to keep them that way meaning things weren’t much different then than now, and the founders weren’t the noble characters they’re made out to be.

There were no populists or civil libertarians among them with men like Washington and Jefferson (who was abroad and didn’t attend) being slave-owners. In fact, they were little more than crass opportunists who willfully acted against the will of “The People” they ignored and disdained. In spite of it, they’re practically deified and ranked with the Apostles, and one of them (Washington) sits in the most prominent spot atop Mt. Rushmore.

The constitutional convention ended September 17, 1787 “in an atmosphere verging on glumness.” Of the 55 attending delegates, 39 signed as a pro forma exercise before sending it to the states with power to accept or reject it. Again, “The People” were nowhere in sight in Philadelphia or at the state level where the real tussle began before the founders could declare victory.

What Was Achieved and What Wasn’t

Contrary to popular myth, the new government wasn’t constrained by constitutional checks and balances of the three branches created within it. In fact, then and since, sitting governments have acted expediently, with or without popular approval, and within or outside the law. In this respect, our system functions no differently than most others operating as we do. It’s accomplished through “the narrowest possible interpretations of the Constitution,” but it’s free to go “further afield under broader or fanciful official interpretations.” History records many examples under noted Presidents like Lincoln, T. and F. Roosevelt and Wilson along with less distinguished ones like Reagan, Clinton, Nixon, GHW Bush and his bad seed son, the worst ever of a bad lot.

Key to understanding the American system is that “government is completely autonomous, detached, (and) in a realm of its own” with its “main interest (being) economic (for the privileged) at all times.” Constitutional shackles and constraining barriers are pure fantasy. Regardless of law, custom or anything else, sitting US governments have always been freelancing and able to operate as they please. They’ve also consistently been unresponsive to the public interest, uncaring and disinterested in the will and needs of the majority, and generally able to get around or remake the law to suit their purpose. George W. Bush is only the latest and most extreme example of a tradition begun under Washington, who when elected unanimously (by virtual coronation) was one of the two richest men in the country.

The Legislative Branch

The Constitution then and since confers unlimited powers on the government constituted under its three branches of the Congress, Executive and Judiciary. Article I (with seven in all plus 27 Amendments) deals with the legislative branch. Section 8, Sub-section 18 states Congress has power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution….or in any department or officer thereof.” It’s for government then to decide what’s “necessary” and “proper” meaning the sky’s the limit under the concept of sovereignty.

The Executive and Judiciary branches are dealt with below with the three branches comprising a labyrinthine system the framers devised under the Roman notion of “divide and rule” as follows:

— a powerful (and at times omnipotent) chief executive at the top,

— a bicameral legislature with a single member in the upper chamber able to subvert all others in it through the power of the filibuster (meaning pirate in Spanish),

— a committee system controlled mostly by seniority or a political powerbroker,

— delay and circumlocution deliberately built into the system,

— a separate judiciary able to overrule the Congress and Executive, but too often is a partner, not an adversary,

— staggered elections to assure continuity by preventing too many officials being voted out together,

— a two-party system with multiple constituencies, especially vulnerable to corruption and the influence of big (corporate) money that runs everything today making the whole system farcical, dishonest and a democracy only in the minds of the deceived and delusional.

The Judiciary

Article III of the Constitution establishes the Supreme Court saying only: “The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” Congress is explicitly empowered to regulate the Court, but, in fact, the opposite often happens or, at times, it cuts both ways. The function of Congress is to make laws with the Court in place to interpret them and decide their constitutionality if challenged and it decides to adjudicate.

As for the common notion of “judicial review,” it’s nowhere mentioned in the Constitution nor did the framers authorize it. Nonetheless, courts use it to judge the constitutionality of laws in place and public sector body actions. They derive their power to do it by deduction from two separate parts of the Constitution: Article VI, Section 2 saying the Constitution, laws and treaties are the supreme law of the land and judges are bound by them; then in Article III, Section 1 saying judicial power applies to all cases, implying judicial review is allowed. Under this interpretation of the law, appointed judges, in theory, “have a power unprecedented in history – to annul acts of the Congress and President.”

With or without this power, Lundberg makes a powerful case overall that the constitutional story comes down to a question of money and money arrangement – who gets it, how, why, when, where, what for, and under what conditions. Also addressed is who the law leaves out. The story has nothing whatever to do with guaranteeing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Jefferson’s Orwellian language meaning property); establishing justice; upholding the rule of law equitably for everyone; promoting the general welfare; or securing the blessings of freedom for “The People” unconsidered, unimportant and ignored by the three branches of government serving monied and property interests only, of which they are a part.

The Executive Branch

Lundberg’s theme is clear and unequivocal. Under US constitutional law, the President is the most powerful political official on earth, bar none under any other system of government. “The office he holds is inherently imperial,” regardless of the occupant or how he governs, and the Constitution confers this on him. Unlike the British model, with the executive as a collectivity, the US system “is absolutely unique, and dangerously vulnerable” with one man in charge fully able to exploit his position. “The American President (stands) midway between a collective executive and an absolute dictator (and in times of war like now) becomes, in fact, quite constitutionally, a full-fledged dictator.” Disturbingly, the public hasn’t a clue about what’s going on.

A single sentence, easily passed over or misunderstood, constitutes the essence of presidential power. It effectively grants the Executive a near-limitless source, only constrained to the degree he chooses. It’s from Article II, Section 1 reading: “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. Article II, Section 3 then almost nonchalantly adds: “The President shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed” without saying Presidents are virtually empowered to make laws as well as execute them even though nothing in the Constitution specifically permits this practice. More on that below.

To understand how the US government works, it’s essential to know what executive power is, in fact, knowing it’s concentrated in the hands of one man for good or ill. Also crucial is how Presidents are elected – “literally (by) electoral (unelected by the public) dummies” in an Electoral College. The scheme is a long-acknowledged constitutional anomaly as these state bodies are able to subvert the popular vote, never meet or consult like the College of Cardinals electing a Pope, and, in effect, reduce and corrupt the process into a shameless farce.

Once elected, it only gets worse because the power of the presidency is awesome and frightening. The nation’s chief executive:

— is commander-in-chief of the military functioning as a virtual dictator in times of war; although Article I, Section 8 grants only Congress that right, the President, in fact, can do it any time he wishes “without consulting anyone” and, of course, has done it many times;

— can grant commutations or pardons except in cases of impeachment;

— can make treaties that become the law of the land, with the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate (not ratification as commonly believed); can also terminate treaties with a mere announcement as George Bush did renouncing the important ABM Treaty with the former Soviet Union; in addition, and with no constitutional sanction, he can rule by decree through executive agreements with foreign governments that in some cases are momentous ones like those made at Yalta and Potsdam near the end of WW II. While short of treaties, they then become the law of the land.

— can appoint administration officials, diplomats, federal judges with Senate approval, that’s usually routine, or can fill any vacancy through (Senate) recess appointments; can also discharge any appointed executive official other than judges and statutory administrative officials;

— can veto congressional legislation, and history shows through the book’s publication they’re sustained 96% of the time;

— while Congress alone has appropriating authority, only the President has the power to release funds for spending by the executive branch or not release them;

— Presidents also have a huge bureaucracy at their disposal, including powerful officials like the Secretaries of Defense, State, Treasury, and Homeland Security and the Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department;

— Presidents also command center stage any time they wish. They can request and get national prime time television for any purpose with guaranteed extensive post-appearance coverage promoting his message with nary a disagreement with it on any issue;

— throughout history, going back to George Washington, Presidents have issued Executive Orders (EOs) although the Constitution “nowhere implicitly or explicitly gives a President (the) power (to make) new law” by issuing “one-man, often far-reaching” EOs. However, Presidents have so much power they can do as they wish, only constrained by their own discretion.

— George Bush also usurped “Unitary Executive” power to brazenly and openly declare what this section highlights – that the law is what he says it is. He proved it in six and a half years of subverting congressional legislation through a record-breaking number of unconstitutional “signing statements.” – They rewrote over 1132 law provisions through 147 separate “statements,” more than all previous Presidents combined. Through this practice, George Bush expanded presidential power well beyond the usual practices recounted above.

— Presidents are, in fact, empowered to do almost anything not expressively forbidden in the Constitution, and very little is; more importantly, with a little ingenuity and lots of creative chutzpah, the President “can make almost any (constitutional) text mean whatever (he) wants it to mean” so, in fact, his authority is practically absolute or plenary. And the Supreme Court supports this notion as an “inherent power of sovereignty.” If the US has sovereignty, it has all powers therein, and the President, as the sole executive, can exercise them freely without constitutional authorization or restraint.

In effect, “the President….is virtually a sovereign in his own person.” Compared to the power of the President, Congress is mostly “a paper tiger, easily soothed or repulsed.” The courts, as well, can be gotten around with a little creative exercise of presidential power, and in the case of George Bush, at times just ignoring their decisions when they disagree with his. As Lundberg put it: “One should never under-estimate the power of the President….nor over-estimate that of the Supreme Court. The supposed system of equitable checks and balances does not exist, in fact, (because Congress and the courts don’t effectively use their constitutional authority)….the separation in the Constitution between legislative and the executive is wholly artificial.”

Further, it’s pure myth that the government is constrained by limited powers. Quite the opposite is true “which at the point of execution (resides in) one man,” the President. In addition, “Until the American electorate creates effective political parties (which it never has done), Congress….will always be pretty much under (Presidents’) thumb(s).” Under the “American constitutional system (the President) is very much a de facto king,” and under George Bush a corrupted, devious, criminal and dangerous one.

As for impeaching and convicting a President for malfeasance, Article II, Section 4 states it can only be for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Based on the historical record, it’s near-impossible to do with no President ever having been removed from office this way, and only two were impeached, both unjustly. John Adams, the most distinguished constitutional theorist of his day, said it would take a national convulsion to remove a President by impeachment, which is not to say it won’t ever happen and very likely one day will with no time better than the present to prove it.

In sum from the above, the US system of constitutional law is full of flaws and faults. “The People” were deliberately and willfully left out of the process proving the Constitution doesn’t recognize democracy in America in spite of the commonly held view it does. In addition, the President, at his own discretion, can usurp dictatorial powers and end republican government by a stroke of his pen. That should awaken everyone to the clear and present danger that any time, for any reason, the President of the United States can declare a state of emergency, suspend the law of the land and rule by decree.

Constitutional Government in Venezuela

How does America’s system of government contrast with rule under the 1999 Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela? Hugo Chavez was first elected president in December, 1998 and took office in February, 1999. He then held a national referendum so his people could decide whether to convene a National Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution to embody his visionary agenda. It passed overwhelmingly followed three months later by elections to the National Assembly to which members of Chavez’s MVR party and those allied with it won 95% of the seats. They then drafted the revolutionary Constitucion de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela. It was put to a nationwide vote in December, 1999 and overwhelmingly approved changing everything for the Venezuelan people.

It established a model humanistic participatory social democracy, unimaginable in the US, providing real (not imagined) checks and balances in the nation’s five branches of government. They comprise the executive, legislative and judicial ones plus two others. One is the independent national electoral council that regulates and handles state and civil society organization electoral procedures to assure they conform to the law requiring free, fair and open elections. The other is a citizen or public power branch functioning as a unique institution. It lets ordinary people serve as ombudsmen to assure the other government branches comply with constitutionally-mandated requirements. This branch includes the attorney general, the defender of the people, and the comptroller general.

The Legislative Branch

Venezuela is governed under a unicameral legislative system called the National Assembly. It’s composed of 167 members (compared to 535 in the two US Houses) elected to serve for five years and allowed to run two more times. It differs from the bicameral system in the US but is broadly similar to governments like in the UK. Although it’s bicameral, it’s governed solely by publicly elected members of the House of Commons that includes the Prime Minister and his cabinet as members of Parliament. The upper House of Lords is merely token and advisory, there by tradition like the Queen, with no power to overrule the lower House that runs everything.

The Office of the President

The President is elected with a plurality of universally guaranteed suffrage. Article 56 of the Bolivarian Constitution states: “All persons have the right to be registered free of charge with the Civil Registry Office after birth, and to obtain public documents constituting evidence of the biological identity, in accordance with law.” In addition, all Venezuelans are enfranchised to vote under one national standard and are encouraged to do it under a model democratic system with the vast majority in it actively participating.

In contrast, the US system is quite different. Precise voting rights qualifications are for the states to decide with no constitutionally mandated suffrage standard applying across the board for everyone. The result is many US citizens are denied their franchise right. They’re unable to participate in the electoral process for a variety of reasons no democratic state should tolerate, but America built it into the system by design.

The Judicial System

Under Article 2 in The Bolivarian Constitution, the judicial system shares equal importance to the law of the land. But it wasn’t always that way earlier when the Venezuelan judiciary had an odious reputation before Chavez was elected. It had a long history of corruption, a disturbing record of being beholden to political benefactors, and a tradition of failing to provide an adequate system of justice for most Venezuelans. Chavez vowed to change things and undertook a major restructuring effort after taking office. He put this government branch under the Supreme Tribunal of Justice and made it independent of the others. The law now requires those serving be elected by a two-thirds legislative majority (not the previous simple one), and tighter requirements are in place regarding eligible candidates along with public hearings to vet them.

In addition, to root out long-standing corrupt practices, Chavez created a Judicial Restructuring Commission to review existing judgeships and replace those not fit to serve. Henceforth, all sitting judges with eight or more corruption charges pending are disqualified. It effectively eliminated 80% of those on the bench in short order and showed the extent of malfeasance in the national judicial culture. It also suggested the huge amount throughout the government from generations of institutionalized privilege. Those in power were licensed to steal the country blind and enrich themselves and foreign investors at the expense of the vast majority.

Reform in all areas of government is still a work in progress, including in the judiciary needing much of it. The process hasn’t been perfect because of the enormity of the task. By the end of 2000, about 70% of sitting judges in the so-called capital region of Caracas, Miranda and Vargas states were replaced by provisional ones with charges of old judges removed for equally beholden new ones. It may be true and points to how hard the going is to change the long-standing culture of privilege and institute real democratic reforms throughout the government.

Nonetheless, the Constitution established Chavez’s vision for a foundation and legal framework for revolutionary structural change. He’s been working since to transform the nation incrementally into a model participatory social democracy serving all Venezuelans instead of for the privileged few alone the way it traditionally was in the past and how US framers designed American constitutional law. The differences between the two nations couldn’t be more stark.

The spirit of the Venezuelan Bolivarian Constitution is stated straightaway in its Preamble:….”to establish a democratic, participatory and self-reliant, multiethnic and multicultural society in a just, federal and decentralized State that embodies the values of freedom, independence, peace, solidarity, the common good, the nation’s territorial integrity, comity and the rule of law for this and future generations;”

It further “guarantees the right to life, work, learning, education, social justice and equality, without discrimination or subordination of any kind; promotes peaceful cooperation among nations and further strengthens Latin American integration in accordance with the principle of nonintervention and national self-determination of the people, the universal and indivisible guarantee of human rights, the democratization of imitational society, nuclear disarmament, ecological balance and environmental resources as the common and inalienable heritage of humanity;……”

This language would be unimaginable in the US Constitution, and, unlike our federal law, they’re more than words. This is Hugo Chavez’s commitment to all Venezuelans ordained under nine Title headings, 350 Articles, and 18 Temporary Provisions. It’s a first class democratic document, little known in the West, that greatly outclasses and shames what US framers’ enacted for themselves and privileged friends alone. Democracy was nowhere in sight then nor has it shown up since. In Venezuela under Hugo Chavez, it’s resplendent, glorious, still imperfect and a work in progress, but heading in the right direction with newly proposed changes discussed below.

The contrast with America today couldn’t be greater. The nation under George Bush is ruled by Patriot and Military Commissions Act justice under an institutionalized imperial system of militarized savage capitalism empowering the rich to exploit all others. A state of permanent war exists; civil liberties are disappearing and human rights are a nonstarter; dissent is a crime; social decay is growing; a culture of secrecy and growing fear prevail; torture is practically sanctified; injustice is tolerated; the dominant media function as virtual national thought-control police gatekeepers; and the law is what a boy-emperor president says it is. Aside from the privileged it serves, democracy in America is only in the minds of the bewildered and last of the true-believers who sooner or later will discover the truth.

Consider Venezuela’s Bolivarian spirit in contrast. The people freely and openly choose their leaders in honest, independently monitored elections. They’re unemcumbered by a farcical electoral college voting scheme (for Presidents) and a system of rigged electronic voting machine and other electoral engineered fraud corrupting the entire process sub rosa. They also have unimaginable benefits like free quality health and dental care (mandated in Articles 83 – 85) as a “fundamental social right and….responsibility of the state….to guarantee….to improve the quality of life and common welfare.” It’s administered through a national public health system proscribed from being privatized. That’s how health delivery in America gets corrupted for profit. The result is 47 million and counting are uninsured, many millions more have too little coverage, and the cost of care is unaffordable for all but the well-off or those on Medicare, Medicaid (if qualify) or under disappearing company-paid plans.

The Constitution also enacted the principle of participatory democracy from the grassroots for everyone. It’s mandated in Articles 166 and 192 establishing citizen assemblies as a constitutional right for ordinary people to be empowered to participate in governing along with their elected officials. Constitutionally guaranteed rights also ban discrimination; promote gender equity; and insure free speech; a free press; free, fair, and open elections; equal rights for indigenous people (assured a minimum three National Assembly legislative seats); and mandates government make quality free education available for all to the highest levels, as well as housing and an improved social security pension system for seniors, and much more.

Hugo Chavez brought permanent change, and most Venezuelans won’t tolerate returning to the ugly past. Why should they? They never got these essential social services before. Under a leader who cares, they do now, and their lives improved enormously.

Other Venezuelan Constitutionally Guaranteed Rights

The Bolivarian Constitution is a glorious document, fundamentally different in spirit and letter from its US counterpart it shames by comparison. Before Chavez took office in February, 1999, Venezuela only paid lip service to civil liberties, human rights and needs. They’re now mandated by law. It encompasses an impressive array of basic rights and essential services like government-paid health care, education, housing, employment and human dignity enforced and funded by a caring government as the law requires.

Article 58 in the Constitution also guarantees the right to “timely, true, and impartial” information “without censorship, in accordance with the principles of this constitution.” The opposite is true in America where major media are state propaganda instruments for the privileged.

Articles 71 – 74 establish four types of popular national referenda never imagined or held in America outside the local or state level where they’re often non-binding. The US is one of only five major democracies never to have permitted this type citizen participation. In Venezuela under Hugo Chavez, the practice is mandated by law and institutionalized to give people at the grass roots a say in running their government. Four types of referenda are allowed:

–consultative – for a popular, non-binding vote on “national transcendent” issues like trade agreements;

— recall – applied to all elected officials up to the President;

— approving – a binding vote to approve laws, constitutional amendments, and treaties relating to national sovereignty; and

— rescinding – to rescind or change existing laws.

Referenda can be initiated by the National Assembly, the President, or by petition from 10 – 20% of registered voters, with different procedural requirements applying for each.

Social, family, cultural, educational and economic rights are guaranteed under Chapters V – VII with the government backing them financially.

Indigenous Native Peoples’ rights are covered in Chapter VIII. Even environmental rights are addressed with Article 127 stating “It is the right and duty of each generation to protect and maintain the environment for its own benefit and that of the world of the future….The State shall protect the environment, biological and genetic diversity, ecological processes….and other areas of ecological importance.” Try imagining any US federal law with teeth containing this type language let alone the Constitution that includes nothing in its Articles or Amendments.

Citizen Power gets considerable attention under Articles 273 – 291. It’s exercised by “the Republican Ethics Council, consisting of the People Defender, the General Prosecutor and the General Comptroller of the Republic….Citizen Power is independent and its organs enjoy operating, financial and administrative autonomy.” Citizen Power organs are legally charged with “preventing, investigating and punishing actions that undermine public ethics and administrative morals, to assure lawful sound management of public property….(to help) create citizenship, together with solidarity, freedom, democracy, social responsibility, work” and more.

Venezuela’s Constitution covers much more as well under each of its nine Titles from:

— stating its fundamental Bolivarian principles in Title I, to

— National Security in Title VII,

— Protection of the Constitution in Title VIII to assure its continuity in the event of “acts of force” or unlawful repeal with each citizen having a duty to reinstate it if that need arises; and finally

— Constitutional Reforms in Title IX in the form of amendments, other reforms to revise or replace any of its provisions, and the National Constituent Assembly with power “resting with the people of Venezuela.” They’re empowered to call an Assembly to transform the State, create a new “juridical order” and draft a new Constitution to be submitted to a national referendum for the people to accept or reject. That’s how democracy is supposed to work. In Venezuela it does. In the US, it doesn’t, never did, and was never conceived or intended to from the nation’s founding to the present.

This happens because Americans know painfully little about their law of the land hidden from them in plain view. They’re taught misinformation about it and the framers who drafted it. Few ever read it beyond a quoted line or two and even fewer ever think about it. In contrast, in Venezuela, the Bolivarian Constitution is sold in pocket-sized form almost everywhere. People buy, read and study it. Why? Because it’s a vital unifying part of their lives codifying core democratic values and principles Venezuelan people cherish and wish to keep.

Prospective Venezuelan Constitutional Reforms

In July, President Chavez announced he’d be sending the National Assembly a proposal of suggested constitutional reforms to debate and consider. He stressed Venezuelans would then get to vote on them in a national referendum so that “the majority will decide if they approve….constitutional reform.”

Chavez submitted his proposal in an August 15 address to the National Assembly that will debate and rule on them in three extraordinary sessions over the next 60 to 90 days. Included are amendments to 33 of the Constitution’s 350 articles to “complete the death of the old, hegemonic oligarchy and the old, exploitative capitalist system, and complete the birth of the new state.” Chavez stressed the need to update the 1999 Constitution because it’s “ambiguous (and) a product of that moment. The world (today) is very different from (then). (Reforms now are) essential for continuing the process of revolutionary transition.” They include:

— extending presidential terms from six to seven years;

— unlimited reelections (that countries like England, France, Germany and others now allow); Chavez wants the reelection option to be “the sovereign decision of the constituent people of Venezuela;”

— guaranteeing the right to work and establishing policies to develop and generate productive employment;

— creation of a Social Stability Fund for “non-dependent” or self-employed workers so they have the same rights as other workers including pensions, paid vacations and prenatal and postnatal leave entitlements;

— reducing the workday to six hours so businesses would have to employ more workers and hold unemployment down;

— ending the autonomy of Venezuela’s Central Bank;

— recognition of different kinds of property defined as social, collective, mixed and private;

— redefining the role of the military so henceforth “The Bolivarian Armed Forces (will) constitute an essential patriotic, popular and anti-imperialist body organized by the state to guarantee the independence and sovereignty of the nation…;” and

— guaranteeing state control over the nation’s oil industry to prevent any future privatization of this vital resource;

Chavez also wants other changes to strengthen the nation’s participatory democracy at the grassroots. He stresses “one of the central ideas is my proposal to open, at the constitutional level, the roads to accelerate the transfer of power to the people” in an “Explosion of Communal (or popular) Power.” It’s already there in more than 26,000 democratically functioning grassroots communal councils. They’re government-sanctioned, funded, operating throughout the country, and may double in number and be strengthened further under proposed constitutional changes.

Chavez wants “Popular (people) Power” to be a “State Power” along with the Legislature, Executive, Judicial, Citizen and Electoral ones and considers this constitutional change the most important one of all. If it happens, various sovereign powers and duties now handled at the federal, state and municipal levels will be transfered to local communal, worker, campesino, student and other councils. This will strengthen Venezuela’s bedrock participatory democracy making it even more unique and impressive than it already is.

In America, it’s unimaginable a President or other government officials would recommend “People Power” become our fourth government branch, co-equal with the others, with citizens empowered to vote in national referenda on crucial proposed changes in law.

Chavez also proposed a “new geometry of power” by amending article 16 that now states “the territory of the nation is divided into those of the States, the Capital District, federal dependencies and federal territories. The territory is organized into Municipalities.” Chavez wants this amended so popular referenda can create “federal districts” in specific areas to serve as states. He called this idea “profoundly revolutionary (and needed) to remove the old oligarchic, exploiter hegemony, the old society, and (quoting Gramsci weaken the former) historic block. If we don’t change the (old) superstructure (it) will defeat us.”

Chavez also stressed this new structure is needed to be in place when “Venezuela (grows to) 40 – 50 million people.” His plan includes “restructur(ing) Caracas” into a Federal District with more local autonomy, as it was at an earlier time.

These proposals and other initiatives are part of his overall socialism for the 21st century plan that’s also very business-friendly. Chavez opposes savage capitalism, not private enterprise, and under his stewardship domestic and foreign businesses have thrived. They’re a dominant force powering the economy to accelerated growth since 2003 with latest Central Bank 2nd quarter, 2007 figures coming in at 8.9%. With oil prices high and world economies prospering, this trend is likely to continue. That’s good news for business and households sharing in the benefits through greater purchasing power.

Chavez wants his new United Socialist Party (PSUV) to drive the revolutionary process and continue his agenda of reform for all Venezuelans. He wants everyone to enjoy the benefits, not just a privileged few like in the past and in the US today. Under his leadership, their future is bright while in America poverty is growing, the middle class is dying, and the darkness of tyranny threatens everyone under George Bush with his agenda likely continuing under a new president in 2009.

Governance differences exist between these two nations because their constitutional laws are mirror opposite, and America has no one like Hugo Chavez. He’s a rare leader who cares and backs his rhetoric with progressive people-friendly policies. In the US, there’s George Bush, and that pretty much explains the problem. Knowing that, which leader would you choose and under which system of government would you prefer to live?

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at www.sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on TheMicroEffect.com Saturdays at noon US central time.


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Luis Posada Carriles in Miami, March 25 2010 This is what Terrorist Sympathizers Look Like
March 26, 2010, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

http://www.cubadebate.cu/noticias/2010/03/26/posada-carriles-y-damas-de-blanco-amigos-para-siempre

terrorist Luis Posada Carriles

terrorist Luis Posada Carriles in Miami

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubana_Flight_455

Cubana Flight 455 was a Cubana flight from Barbados to Jamaica that was brought down by a terrorist attack on October 6, 1976. All 73 people on board the Douglas DC-8 aircraft were killed in what was then the most deadly terrorist airline attack in the Western hemisphere. Two time bombs were used, variously described as dynamite or C-4. Evidence implicated several CIA-linked anti-Castro Cuban exiles and members of the Venezuelan secret police DISIP. Political complications quickly arose when Cuba accused the US government of being an accomplice to the attack. CIA documents released in 2005 indicate that the agency “had concrete advance intelligence, as early as June 1976, on plans by Cuban exile terrorist groups to bomb a Cubana airliner.” Former CIA operative Posada Carriles denies involvement but provides many details of the incident in his book “Caminos del Guerrero” (Way of the Warrior),[1][2]